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Friday, April 20, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-20-2018

Chicago Eagle, April 20, 1918:

Agitation against the use of the so-called “freak” deliveries in baseball will have no effect on the most unusual style of boxmanship of Benjamin Pellowitz, Philadelphia school boy, whose unique pitching is natural.

Pellowitz is fifteen years old. That old saying about the awkward boy, “His fingers are all thumbs,” acts with reverse English in this case, for it is on his two thumbs that Benny depends on for his success in pitching. One is a growth of the other thumb.

Gripping the ball with his two thumbs and first two fingers, Pellowitz discovered that he could control what he calls a “four-finger” curve that is difficult to hit safely.

I’m pretty sure “Antonio Alfonseca” is Spanish for Benjamin Pellowitz.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 20, 2018 at 10:00 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-19-2018

Toledo News-Bee, April 19, 1918:

It is reported [in Boston] that Ed Barrow won’t last long as the Red Sox boss. He and Johnny Evers have had a blowout, Heinie Wagner replacing the little second sacker as utility man and coach. It seems Evers told Barrow that he believed 10 years at a desk had ruined his bench judgment. Evers is backed by several of the Red Sox regulars.

One can only hope that Barrow responded by telling Evers that all those Fudge Orgies and Nicotine Sprees had ruined Johnny’s judgment. Barrow won the 1918 World Series as a manager, while Evers had a .420 winning percentage as a manager from this point on.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 19, 2018 at 09:46 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fudge orgies, history, nicotine sprees

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-18-2018

Oklahoma City Times, April 18, 1918:

An English sportsman, who was resting at Mineral Wells, Texas, was much interested in the Chicago White Sox, and in Eddie Cicotte especially. He had heard that Cicotte was the leading pitcher in the American league last season, and couldn’t understand why an athlete, apparently so short, could be such a marvel.
...
[The Englishman asked Cicotte] “And may I inquire if you ever play cricket?”

“Cricket! That’s a bug game,” responded Cicotte.

To this day the Englishman does not know what Cicotte meant by his reference.

And neither does anyone else. In related news, Hansie Cronje never played baseball.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 18, 2018 at 09:30 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-17-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, April 17, 1918:

The effort is being made to introduce “kittem,” a modified form of baseball, into New York playgrounds. The extra sunlight is expected to greatly augment interest in the sport, the scheme of which is as follows:

Kittem is played with a large twelve-inch ball, the clenched fist being used as a bat. The game has been very successful in Detroit, where it originated; Minneapolis, St. Paul and other large cities where daylight-saving laws have been in existence for some time.

It’s probably a good indication of kittem’s popularity that when I typed ‘kittem baseball’ into a search engine, it asked me if I had meant to type kitten baseball. Which I’d totally watch, by the way.

Elsewhere in the news 100 years ago, Carl Mays just missed no-hitting the Athletics. The lone Philadelphia hit on April 16, 1918 was a ball that was smashed right at second baseman Dave Shean, who couldn’t find the handle.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 17, 2018 at 09:59 AM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 16, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-16-2018

New York Sun, April 16, 1918:

LOCAL BASEBALL LID COMES OFF TO-DAY

After the balmy weather of yesterday the magic words “play ball,” which will be uttered on the Polo Grounds this afternoon by Umpire Cy Rigler, will be appropriate and seasonable. On such a day as yesterday each gentle zephyr seemed to sing “play ball.”

Even the fact that each hour brings fresh developments of the world’s greatest battle, and that Uncle Sam is plunged in his greatest Liberty Loan drive cannot drown out the music of that baseball command opening a new season or prevent the thrill which the fan feels when the home pitcher squares off to let go the first pitch of an infant season.

Ah, Opening Day in the late 1910s and early 1920s. The one day when everybody’s still in the race, other than the Philadelphia teams.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 16, 2018 at 09:49 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Friday, April 13, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-13-2018

El Paso Herald, April 13, 1918:

Manager McGraw is evidently going to rely this season, as he always has, on his players slugging the ball, instead of having them follow the sacrifice bunt system.
...
He may be right in following this plan, but it seems that by doing the unexpected once in a while and adopting the sacrifice, the Giants would win many more close games.

John McGraw might have been a jerk, but he was no dummy.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 13, 2018 at 09:54 AM | 89 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-12-2018

Toledo News-Bee, April 12, 1918:

Mel Wolfgang, who suffered last year from the effects of poison ivy, contracted at Paso Robles, Cal., has fully recovered and says he’s ready to pitch big league baseball. Mel was carried, not for what he was doing, but for what Pants Rowland knew he could do.

Must have been a hell of a poison ivy outbreak if it was newsworthy that Wolfgang had recovered in the offseason. I know he was a redhead and I know their skin can be particularly susceptible to stuff like poison ivy.

Mellie was a tiny spitballer, 5’7” on a good day if he was wearing platform shoes and he jumped on a trampoline while they measured him with a wonky tape measure. He was a good pitcher when he was healthy; Wolfgang put up a 1.92 ERA (145 ERA+) in 300 innings between 1914-1916 before the poison ivy caught up to him.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 12, 2018 at 10:59 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-11-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, April 11, 1918:

Four members of the White Sox team who visited the Ellington aviation field in Texas a few days ago were given a war thriller when they saw two aviators killed during flights. It was the third like casualty of the day.

Goodness. That had to have been awkward for them.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 11, 2018 at 10:00 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-10-2018

Bridgeport Times, April 10, 1918:

Derrill Pratt and John Lavan, former members of the St. Louis Americans, who compromised their $50,000 damage suits against Phil Ball, president of the St. Louis club, received $5,400 in settlement, according to information obtained here yesterday.

Ball yesterday said that the settlement did not cost him a cent and sporting men concluded from this statement that the American League had footed the bill.

Pratt and Lavan had sued Ball for slander after the owner accused them of intentionally playing badly so they’d be traded. And then he traded them.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 10, 2018 at 10:20 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 09, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-9-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, April 9, 1918:

Lieutenant Martie McHale, formerly pitcher for the Yankees and Red Sox and now in the Twenty-second Regiment, wants to get men organized who will throw bombs as baseballs are thrown, with curves and dips. He has interested prominent athletes and baseball players in a bomb-throwing squad and arranged for a complete and effective staff of teachers who can show the men in the squad a thing or two about curves that will make the enemy sit up and take notice.

I can’t imagine the Germans would have been particularly worried about backdoor slider grenades, but I dunno. Maybe they were like Pedro Cerrano. Curvebomb, infantrymen are afraid.

Elsewhere, the New York Tribune has photos of toddler Del Pratt Jr. getting ready for the season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 09, 2018 at 10:35 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, world war i

Friday, April 06, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-6-2018

Topeka State Journal, April 6, 1918:

The Bronx may get a baseball club in the New International league, but Harry N. Hempstead and Col. Jacob Ruppert, presidents of Manhattan’s two major league clubs, will first have to give their consent, according to word given Billy Gibson by the new International, now in the process of organization [in New York]. Gibson has made a bid for a franchise in the new league.

Baseball? In the Bronx? It’ll never happen.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 06, 2018 at 10:17 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-5-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, April 5, 1918:

Fielder Jones, among others, holds that Babe Ruth, the Red Sox pitcher, is the most formidable batsman in baseball. The leader of the Browns takes full cognizance of the well-known prowess of Tyrus Cobb, but he insists that Ruth is a more dangerous and harder hitter and that if his efforts were confined to outfielding and hitting he would prove one of the greatest batsmen in the history of the game.

People at the time probably thought Jones had lost his mind, but I’ll be darned if he wasn’t exactly right. Nice work, Fielder.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 05, 2018 at 09:39 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-4-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, April 4, 1918:

The hospital list in the Phils’ camp was increased yesterday afternoon when Mike Prendergast, the flinger from Chicago, sprained his ankle in an effort to jump from the grand stand to the ground. Mike was in good jumping form and had lots of technique, but a slippery step caused by some loose ice cream caused him to make a mess of it.

Not quite as strange as Vince Coleman getting rolled up in the tarp machine or Kevin Mitchell hurting himself while eating a cupcake, but this is one of the weirder injuries I’ve heard of.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 04, 2018 at 08:19 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, injuries

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-3-2018

Washington Times, April 3, 1918:

Dissensions are sprouting in the ranks of Pat Moran’s Phillies. Several players complain that Colonel Baker has not spent any of the money obtained in the Alexander-Killifer deal in strengthening the team, and that they will not long remain with a minor league organization.

Pat Moran is doing the best he can with the material he has, but he refuses to talk of the future.

Moran’s future was better than the Phillies organization’s future. The manager’s contract ended after the 1918 season and he moved to Cincinnati, winning a World Series in his first season with the Reds. It wasn’t quite a typical world championship, but a ring is a ring.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 03, 2018 at 11:07 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, April 02, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-2-2018

Washington Times, April 2, 2018:

Art Wilson, formerly a Cub catcher now with the Boston Braves, on the third trial caught a baseball dropped by an aviator, who was passing over the ball ground at Miami, Fla., at a rate of eighty miles an hour. The ball was dropped by Roger Humphreys. Humphreys and Wilson were some time ago players on a Three-Eye League team.

They had heard of catching a ball thrown from the Washington Monument, but agreed that no one had ever caught a ball from an aeroplane. The stunt was arranged and was satisfactory to the crowd that had gathered to see the game.

So that’s pretty neat.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 02, 2018 at 09:52 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Apr. 14, 1931 - Scenes at a Yankees vs Red Sox Game, NYC (real sound)

Scenes at a baseball game at Yankee Stadium taken on April 14, 1931 in New York City. These films were taken with early Movietone sound cameras.

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 02, 2018 at 09:35 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: history, yankee stadium

Friday, March 30, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-30-2018

Washington Times, March 30, 1918:

Four cities have been granted franchises in the new International League, it became known today. They are Baltimore, Toronto, Jersey City and Syracuse. Buffalo, Newark, Rochester, Richmond, and several other cities bidding for franchises will have until next Wednesday morning to qualify. President McCaffery, of the Toronto club, said today that the season will probably be opened May 1.

The other four cities that made up the league were Buffalo, Newark, Rochester, and Binghamton. Syracuse moved to Hamilton, Ontario in mid-season.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 30, 2018 at 09:49 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-29-2018

Bridgeport Times, March 29, 1918:

The International League disbanded yesterday, after being in existence for 26 years. The meeting at which this action was taken was held behind locked doors and according to all the noises and occasional volleys of conversation which wafted through the transom there was a wide variance of opinion about what should be done.
...
The league disbanded by a vote of 6 to 2…The two votes, in favor of continuing, were cast by Richmond and Newark.

Toledo News-Bee, March 29, 1918:

The dead International League probably will be succeeded by a new organization. It is expected to rise from the ashes of the International and the New York State Leagues.

Toronto, Baltimore, Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Jersey City and other cities not yet designated probably will make up the new organization.

I’m not dead! I’m getting better. I think I’ll go for a walk. I feel happy!

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 29, 2018 at 10:41 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-28-2018

Toledo News-Bee, March 28, 1918:

The International League has postponed its funeral—probably until today. The magnates are reluctant to shake off the shackles of baseball, and were to continue their sessions at league headquarters here today. Some of the magnates are hoping that the league may find a way to run in a curtailed sort of fashion.

No need to figure this out quickly, guys. It’s not like April is four days away or anything.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 28, 2018 at 09:26 AM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-27-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, March 27, 1918:

The latest from Outfielder Cy Williams via St. Pete is to the effect that there may have been chicanery in the deal by which it was proposed to send him to the Phillies. It states that there was no disagreement as to salary offered by President Baker, but that the fault for the misunderstanding on the part of the Philly club was due to the Cub management. The inference is as plain as a direct charge that the Cub management knew he had quit the game and sold him without so advising the receiving club.

Charley Weeghman, ladies and gentlemen. Charley Weeghman.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 27, 2018 at 09:55 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Monday, March 26, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-26-2018

Oklahoma City Times, March 26, 1918:

“Cy” Williams, former Cub star, has quit baseball, and for good, he says. He wired President Baker of the Phillies that he had returned his contract unsigned and that no further negotiations would do any good…The player has an extensive farm in northern Wisconsin which he intends to take active management of himself. He left for the north last night.

The number of players who “quit baseball” to “work on their farm” circa 1918 is remarkable. Much like most of them, Williams was back with his big league club within a month or two. He was a good player - Williams won four National League home run titles and had a reputation as one of the best defensive outfielders of the era. The advanced metrics don’t seem to agree, but people who saw him thought the world of Williams defensively.

Also, here’s a weird Cy Williams statistic: In his first 14 seasons in the big leagues, Williams played for 14 different managers.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 26, 2018 at 10:05 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

OTP 2018 March 26: He struck out at baseball, but made it big in politics. Now he’s returned to his first love

In 1937, a group of standouts from the Negro baseball league, as it was known, was lured to the Dominican Republic for a barnstorming tournament against the country’s home-grown talent. Soon enough, the sun-and-fun adventure became a life-and-death proposition; the competition, it turned out, was for the benefit of the homicidal dictator Rafael Trujillo. The instruction given the visiting all-stars was simple: “You better win.”


While baseball is at the heart of the book, “The Pitcher and the Dictator” — the pitcher being the legendary Satchel Paige — the story is about much more, including gunboat diplomacy, the blood-drenched history of the Dominican Republic and, not least, the prevalence of racism and repression in mid-20th century America.


“One of the great ironies,” Smith said in an interview, is the visiting black players were “coming from the land of the free, home of the brave, and they’re going into one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. Yet in some sense they have more freedom in that repressive dictatorship than they do in the United States.”


Friday, March 23, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-23-2018

Washington Times, March 23, 1918:

So many of the small minor leagues in the Middle West have disbanded or temporarily suspended operations for the period of the war that there are now only a few organizations in the vicinity of St. Louis to which major league clubs can farm out young players.

In view of this, [Branch] Rickey has conceived the idea of organizing a team which he will enter in the justly celebrated “Muny” League of St. Louis, and independent professional circuit that has municipal support and which includes a number of really good ball clubs.

A major league team operating a minor professional ballclub? It’s crazy. It’ll never work.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 23, 2018 at 09:41 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-22-2018

Washington Times, March 22, 1918:

[Reds catcher Harry Smith describes an attempted triple steal:] “We had a manager…who had an elegant set of signs, and one of them was the order to steal a base, made by tapping himself on the forehead with his right hand. One afternoon we had the bases full and none out in a most important game, when he gave the sign to steal. Nothing to do but obey, so everybody stole with the bases full. Of course, the cruel enemy rounded us up and made it a triple play. The manager was a maniac till he told him he had ordered the triple steal—and then he remembered that he had slapped a mosquito which lit upon his forehead!”

This almost has to be made up, right? I can’t even fathom how somebody could get caught stealing second 2-5-4. Well, maybe Ernie Lombardi.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 22, 2018 at 12:27 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-21-2018

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, March 21, 1918:

The ability to heave hand grenades has been oft mentioned as a point in favor of the ball player as a war prospect. Outfielders have been declared especially adapted for the peculiar heave required to effectively shoot the hot ones into the ranks of the foe. That there is a more important feature to the grenade business still is indicated by late reports which pronounce catching grenades of more importance than heaving them. The thing, it seems, is to handle chances cleanly and return the pellets into the enemy’s ranks, there to do a boomerang stunt.

My immediate reaction is that I wouldn’t want to be the guy catching the grenade and throwing it back, but I guess it sure beats having it land near you and explode.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 21, 2018 at 12:27 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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